Pfizer to invest $130m in two Irish plants
US company will inject $100m into Grange Castle biologics unit and $30m at Ringaskiddy
Dr Paul Duffy, vice president of Pfizer, which has announced a major investment in its Irish plants Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision
US drug giant Pfizer will invest $130 million upgrading two of its Irish plants to accommodate work on new drugs coming through its pipeline.
“There is opportunity for Pfizer’s Irish sites to attract the development of new medicines, while also continuing to manufacture existing, important medicines,” said Paul Duffy, vice-president of Pfizer, at the announcement.
“Our Irish operations are significant and we have excellent colleagues across our sites, dedicated to the highest standards of manufacturing quality and excellence.”
Manufacturing capacity at Grange Castle will be expanded with a new production line that will double production of its rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel. The expanded facility, which is due to be operational in 2015, will also allow Grange Castle to manufacture new biologics.
The Ringaskiddy investment will develop specialist new capability to manufacture some of Pfizer’s newest medicines in cancer and other areas.
The company said the investment ensured Ringaskiddy would be in a position to be considered for ongoing development work on new products, not just for commercial launch, but also for clinical products.
Neither upgrade is expected to deliver additional employment at the plants though up to 250 construction workers will be involved in the Grange Castle expansion.
Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock said the announcement was “a statement of intent in relation to [Pfizer’s] continuing commitment to their Irish operations and helps secure existing jobs”.
“I would particularly like to congratulate the management and staff of the Ringaskiddy site, who have clearly played their part in winning this investment which will ensure that Ringaskiddy will be in a position to be considered for future development work on new products,” he said.
Trade union Siptu also welcomed the announcement, saying it was “particularly important as the pharmaceutical industry is currently undergoing a major transition away from big bulk manufactured products towards lower volume produced drugs.”
Sector organiser Alan O’Leary said: “Significant job cuts have been experienced in the industry over recent years as a direct result of patent expiry and the associated drop in volumes.”
He said the recent agreements with the company’s site at Ringaskiddy “will further position the site to compete more effectively for new products”.